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The Whales are Back!

The Whales are Back!

The whale watching season has started on Queensland’s Gold Coast but if you think it might be too early to see whales then think again. It was the second day of the season and unusually a bit bumpy – twice before doing whale watching tours here from Surfers Paradise the sea had been calm. It was worth the rock and roll on the way out when we came upon a ‘competition pod’ – a group of up to ten humpback whales that stayed close to the surface and circled near the boat. The males, identified by the scars and scratches on their backs from previous battles, were vying to be the chosen suitor for the female humpback who seemed more interested in avoiding all of them.

The Competition Pod of Whales in front of Surfers Paradise

Photo: The Competition Pod of Whales in front of Surfers Paradise

This phenomenon of a competition pod is rarely seen – perhaps once or twice in a season confirmed the captain. As the males nudged their fellow humpbacks to show who is the strongest they necessarily stayed close to the surface, tracking back and forth and circling in the vicinity of the boat, all before a backdrop of Surfers Paradise’s skyline in the near distance. A special moment on the annual migration of the humpback whales.

The whale watching season extends from early June to early November as the humpbacks head north from their Antarctic feeding grounds to mate in the warmer waters off Queensland while the pregnant females from last season give birth in the seas around the Whitsundays before they return with their newborns south for the summer.

If you’re planning a holiday or short break on the Gold Coast then we can help find you the right accommodation at https://www.visitqueensland.com.au/gold-coast-accommodation and a host of great Gold Coast activities and tours at https://www.visitqueensland.com.au/gold-coast-tours.

The Best Apple Pie – EVER!

The Best Apple Pie – EVER!

Queensland’s Granite Belt in the southern border highland country is home to not only Queensland’s largest wine district, it’s also a fertile region for fruit and vegetables. Stanthorpe is rightly famous for its apple orchards but before you reach town take a turn off the main road along the gravel drive of Suttons and up to a big tin shed with a green door that doesn’t give away too much away of what you’ll find inside.

Crates of bottled apple juice and shelves of cider and preserves line the corrugated iron walls. A handful of tables take up one corner of the shed with a counter and a display case that has the most temping apple pies you’re ever likely to find. The golden domes of baked shortcrust are filled to the brim with big juicy chunks of apple. If you love an old fashioned apple pie like grandma used to make, dusted in icing sugar and served up with ice cream and whipped cream then this hidden treasure is well worth a stop before you start sampling the range of exceptional alternative wines that the Granite Belt has become famous for on its Strange Bird Wine Trail.

b2ap3 small pie cabinetb2ap3 small Suttons Juice Factory

Images: Suttons Juice Factory and the Famous Apple Pies ready to be eaten

Suttons is located next to the New England Highway just North of Stanthorpe at Thulimbah and is open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

If you’re planning a short break in Queensland’s Granite Belt then check out Visit Queensland’s accommodation options at https://www.visitqueensland.com.au/southern-queensland-country-accommodation

The World's Best Pizza is on the Sunshine Coast

The World's Best Pizza is on the Sunshine Coast

No it’s not Naples or even New York. Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is generally known for having one of the best beaches in Australia but take a walk along the dining strip of Mooloolaba’s colourful Esplanade and you’ll come across Augello’s Ristorante & Pizzeria and… the World’s Best Pizza!

The restaurant has been a regular winner at the Global Pizza Challenge, picking up awards for Best Pizza in Australia in 2014, ’16 and ’17 as well as the ‘Best Pizza on the Globe’ in 2012 and 2010.

So which of the pizza are the big winners?

In 2014 it was the Duck Sushizza that won ‘World’s Best Pizza’ with a rice base, teriyaki sauce, duck, parmesan cheese, sprouts salad, teriyaki aioli and orange segments. Sounds amazing but we tried Augello’s first big claim to fame with their 2010 world-beater, the Hot Smoked Salmon gourmet pizza. This absolutely delicious combination of hot smoked salmon (much tastier than the normal smoked salmon), dill and parmesan infused dough, salsa verde, baby spinach, onion jam, caper lemon juice aioli and salmon caviar is simply fabulous.

If you love Italian food and especially pizza, Augello’s impressive list of award-winning gourmet offerings are definitely worth trying. And what a way to round off a perfect day on the beach at Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

If you’re planning a holiday or short break on the Sunshine Coast check out our accommodation offers at https://www.visitqueensland.com.au/regions/sunshine-coast

Featured

Exploring Outback Queensland

Exploring Outback Queensland

If you’ve never experienced the outback, then autumn is the ideal season to pack your swag, grab your Akubra and join us as we head west across the Great Dividing Range and into Outback Queensland.

That vast expanse of wide brown landscapes and shimmering horizons offers up a pallet of colours from ochre and brown to the pink skies of a blazing sunset. There are the iconic attractions like the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Qantas Founders Museum and the welcome return of the Waltzing Matilda Centre – bigger, brighter and more engaging than ever – and of course there are the classic pubs and genuine Aussie characters that make Outback Queensland an experience like no other.

It’s a region that resonates with the origins of some of Australia’s most treasured icons, from our unofficial anthem ‘Waltzing Matilda’, to the beginnings of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the birthplace of Qantas. The landscapes are breathtaking, from arid plains and gibber desert to rocky ranges, wide savannah to dry riverbeds that can fill during the wet season and flow with life, and areas that abound with wildlife around the rivers, waterholes and gorges. Spectacular naturals highlights range from the red dunes of Windorah to the emerald waters of Lawn Hill Gorge and the dinosaur trail that traces the prehistoric pathways of creatures from 95 million years past when Outback Queensland was home to an inland sea.

Navigating Outback Queensland

The first thing to note is just how big Outback Queensland is – around half of Queensland or around 832,000km2 that is defined by the State borders on the west and south, the Overlanders Way in the north, and it stretches west of the Great Dividing Range in a line that arcs from Hughenden in the north to Charleville and Cunnamulla in the south. It’s a vast area with big distances between its small communities that make Queensland the most decentralised of all of Australia’s states. Plan plenty of time or set your itinerary to take in one or two of the main sectors of Outback Queensland. Our guide will help focus on what each offers.

The Central West

The Central West is the heart of the outback and the gateway to this great region. It includes the towns of Longreach, Barcaldine and Blackall and out to dinosaur country at Winton. This region is home to some of the legends of Australia’s bush heritage – Waltzing Matilda was penned here, Qantas was ‘born’ here, and the folklore and stories of the bush from the stockmen to shearers were played out here. The main centre is Longreach – home to some of the biggest attractions of the outback.

Get Hooked in Rocky

Reeling in a big barramundi is one of the great fishing experiences for any angler and the rewards continue when you cook up this prince of fish. Seeking out the estuaries or stocked lakes and dams where barra are found can mean heading off the beaten track and camping, sometimes amongst the mozzies and sand flies in order to get to the big fish.

If you like your creature comforts – good hotels, cafes with great coffee, restaurants and pubs famous for local steaks, and shops close by or you just like the convenience of being in a regional city then you can now enjoy some of the best barra fishing in Queensland in view of Rockhampton’s city centre.

Anglers have been reeling in monster-sized barra of more than a metre in length in some cases from the city reaches of the Fitzroy River that runs through the heart of Rockhampton.

So what’s made Rocky such a paradise for barra fishing?

b2ap3 medium Big-barra-at-Rocky-Image-Capricorn-Enterprise

Reeling in Barra on the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton image: Capricorn Enterprises

Commercial netting of the river ceased back in 2015 and as a net free zone the city stretch of river between the two bridges that span the Fitzroy has seen an increase both in barra numbers and sizes making Rockhampton an ideal spot for barra fishing. Some anglers will fish from tinnies or there are local fishing charter boats that make it a lot easier for anyone wanting a short break fishing weekend. You can even reel in a barra fishing from the riverbank thanks to new land-based fishing platforms giving recreational anglers the chance at catching a big barra.

If you’re thinking about a fishing holiday in Rockhampton then we can help you catch a good deal with accommodation and local attractions at https://www.visitqueensland.com.au/regions/capricorn-region

Worth Noting:

Barramundi fishing has a strict season. Fishing is permitted from midday 1st February to midday 1st November. Very large fines apply for anyone barra fishing during the annual closed season from 1st November to 1st February. Size limits and catch numbers apply. For more details visit the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website at www.daf.qld.gov.au